Many hope in vain that they will be given answers on compensation. This is not the time, but the magistrates take note of everything, even the enormous damage.
They go over each floor of the building with their occupants. 70-year-old Mykola Tymchenko’s apartment is a total ruin. The explosion following a Russian strike and the ensuing fire devastated the accommodation. Furniture, mattresses, decorations, everything was reduced to ashes.
“Here was the kitchen, here the bathroom, here the toilets…”, he explains, sorry.
“How do I want to feel? I lost my wife before New Years. Now I’ve lost my apartment. It took years to pay for it, and in an instant…”, he laments.
– “We can no longer live here” –
In the neighboring stairwell, the apparent damage is less. The home of Oleksandr Ryabokone, 30, was blown away by the blast: shards of glass and parts of the walls are strewn all over the place, but he has collected some belongings in white bags which he is going to move to a safe place to escape from “thieves and looters”.
He also protected a painting by his great-grandmother, wrapping it in cellophane.
“The building is in critical condition. We can no longer live here. We don’t know if it will be destroyed (because it cannot be restored, editor’s note)”, says this father who has put his children and his wives safe.
“I don’t know what I can be reimbursed for such damage,” he said, hoping that the authorities will give him new accommodation.
At the top of the building, the magistrates continue their work, inspecting, near a gaping hole in a wall, the remains of a projectile.
“An expert will determine what type of shell it is,” said Oleksandr Glebov, 33, one of the Kharkiv prosecutors.
“We cannot yet clearly establish whether we were targeting civilians or whether it was a shooting error”, he comments with reserve, while hundreds of projectiles have fallen on the neighborhood since the beginning. of the Russian invasion.
At the end of February, the Russians arrived at the gates of Kharkiv and in particular Saltivka before being repelled by the Ukrainian army. Many buildings were affected at that time.
Since then, the forces of Moscow have concentrated on other fronts, but the artillery duel between the two armies continues and shells still fall regularly on this large district which before the war had more than 500,000 inhabitants. Today, a large part of the inhabitants have fled the area.
During their visit, the magistrates follow a procedure: “We ask each (material) victim the same question: Were there any military objectives near your home? “says Mr Glebov.
His colleague Oleksandr Arseni wants to be more categorical: “These are war crimes. All the people who lived here are victims”.